tv Charlie Rose PBS June 24, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with dexter filkins of the new yorker magazine, and the deepening crises in iraq. >> these militia, they're big and they're basically controlled by the iranians. so gives iranians a kind of huge lever here. but boy, once this takes off, every household in iraq has an ak47 in it and an assault rifle. everybody knows that. when you tell every able bodied iraqi male to get out there and start fighting, that's rock and roll. >> rose: time for battle. >> it can get out control. >> rose: we continue then with the story of the conviction of three al jazeera in cairo we talk to ehab al-shihabi and sue
turton of al jazeera. >> this is a crime not just against al jazeera this is a crime against all of the freedom of press. this is really dangerous situation in my mind to the freedom of the press although we are very sad, but on the other hand this will make us stronger. we are determined to make sure that we would be free. and the whole war is standing behind us. >> rose: we close this evening with an appreciation of ajami who died at 48. >> it surprised those who prosecuted the war and people who launched the war and the liberals, it surprised the hawks to saw that iraq would redeem the best. >> rose: the crises in iraq, the conviction of three al jazeera journalists in cairo and
rehabbing fouad ajami when we continue. >> there's a saying around here: you stand behind what you say. around here, we don't make excuses, we make commitments. and when you can't live up to them, you own up and make it right. some people think the kind of accountability that thrives on so many streets in this country has gone missing in the places where it's needed most. but i know you'll still find it, when you know where to look. additional funding provided by: and by bloomberg. a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide.
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: we begin this evening with the continuing crises in iraq. sunni militants control over north and western iraq. the islamic state in iraq and syria captured strategic border crossing with jordan and syria. on monday secretary of state john kerry met with al maliki. secretary kerry spoke following the meeting. >> the very future of iraq depends on choices that will be made in the next days and weeks and the future of iraq depends primarily on the ability of iraq's leaders to come together
and take a stand united. not next week, not next month but now. >> rose: joining me now is dexter filkins from the new yorker magazine. no one knows the story better than him. his latest feature in the magazine is called what we left behind in iraq. thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> rose: i know you're going to be there soon. how many years have you spent on this story, this story of iraq. >> i went in after. >> rose: in 2003. >> not before. >> rose: about 10 years ago. >> april 9, 2003. >> rose: you never left the story. you had this continuing interest coinciding with the interest in iran and some of their players as well. >> when the united states finally left in 2011, i had a bad feeling that this thing we
had built so many lives just didn't seem permanent to me. so i did go back. i mean very recently i went back. i saw maliki in february. it wasn't that hard to figure out i have to say. you could tell it was just waiting for one good blow and it would start to come apart. >> rose: you mean maliki versus sunni was taking place. >> i think so. look the thing i didn't realize i did that long piece, maliki, he was fighting the shiite sectarian war since he was 17 years old. this is all he knows. when we found him in 2003 and then we persuaded him may not be the right word but when we persuaded him to become prime minister he said all the right things but clearly he's been
fighting the same war that he was always fighting which is which is the war against the sunnies and these are our oppressors and now it's done and i'm leading the fight and i'm going to crush those people. that's basically his attitude. when he sees a sunni iraqi he sees a member of al-qaeda basically. i think just listening to senator kerry -- >> rose: that meaning the people around saddam. >> yes, people around saddam. it's interesting listening to senator kerry. he's there for a reason -- >> rose: his reason is? >> well, you know there was an election in april and they haven't formed a new government yet. so now maliki's essentially the caretaker prime minister now and they have to form a new government. up until this happened it was probably almost certainly going to be maliki. is it going to be maliki now? i think if senator kerry or secretary kerry, i think he's pushing people in the other
direction. i think, this is me talking but i think the whitehouse is trying to get somebody else. that maliki, they've decided maliki's too sectarian. he's responsible for a lot of this. and so his time's up. >> rose: i told sustani seemed to indicate he was aware of the problem and some of the statements he's made. >> that's the word, i think. in fact, the word on the street somebody told me this just a couple days ago that ayatollah sustani is the leader of the shiite, a large group in iraq. that he has lost confidence now. if that's true and the word gets around as it will, then i think he's probably not going to be able to hang o i think he will try to hang on and i think it will take, it's going to take a lot to get him out of there. and the other thing is his opponents all the other shiites,
the curred the sunnis can't get together. and this could take a long time. they've got insurgencents outside of bag tad. >> rose: so all of those are part of the scene. they will save him or not. they may have their own reasons for doing it. >> yes. i mean the iraqi army as we saw over the last couple weeks, horrible performance. and this was something that the americans were intimately involved in building, spent $25 billion, turned this into an enormous army. >> rose: why didn't we think we were doing a good job. >> i think you never know until the moment comes. and the moment came you know and so i think it was four destritionz out -- divisions out
of 14 disappeared. >> rose: even you thought he was good isis. >> i don't know. >> rose: they seem to be a good organization number one and then they rob the banks. >> yes. >> rose: and then they do some things that sort of say we're going to be different. >> isis is reputation in syria is horrendous. they don't make nice, they don't talk nice they cut people's hands off. isis would have taken the town with bull horns saying we're coming and the army would disappear. i heard that other day where iraqi soldiers in bag tad, iraqi soldiers guarding the green zone were coming to work without their uniforms on, you know. the more easily this is to run away. >> rose: nor times yes today.
iraq's military scenes unlikely to turn the tied, forces call ineffective as western nations weigh support. >> right. that to me is, that's the real, think about it. everybody's assuming that president obama's going to order air strikes assuming we have targets. to what end. i don't think the iraqi army is in any position by all the evidence to go back in to these places. are they going to fight their way into these places. the one place we've seen this recently was fallujah, they lost control of fallujah six months ago. they basically rolled up to the outside of town and started shelving civilians. that's what the iraqi army does. so this is a long game, it will take a long time to figure this one out. >> rose: what do you need to figure out. >> well, i don't know, you know.
iraq is basically breaking up as we speak. you're talking about something close to an effective partition of the country, unless the central government can reassert control. can they? there's not a lot of evidence that they can. i think the one thing that might start to work overtime is we've seen this in the past. these guys will start fighting each other. apparently just a couple days ago, isis and the baathists, they had a gun battle. that's what happened, they started fighting each other and we took advantage of them, took advantage of it and we wiped it out. >> rose: parallel to the surge too. >> yes, fortuitously. but there's no quick fix to this one, i don't think. and my sense is that the whitehouse understands that and that's -- >> rose: and therefore what's their decision. >> i think it's, their sense, their conclusion that the answer
to this is probably not military or if it is military, it's a small percentage of it. the answer's political. >> rose: what's the political decisionxbgñ that can stop isis? >> i don't think isis is going to come to baghdad, baghdad is a shiite city and they will get wiped out. isis and the other insurgents have morals taken control of the sunni heartland or the triangle whatever you want to call it, they'll find a stalemate. so i think again it's going to be a long game and i think that you're talking about you know over a long period of time, maybe the iraqi army will be able to reassert control but then i think the great hope, the long term hope has to be political. otherwise the country stays partitioned, i think. >> rose: so there are three choices that was said the other day.
number one somehow you have prorated country that emerges because militia coming in. >> yes. >> rose: two is the division of the country. >> yes. >> rose: or three, somehow through some means because of sustani and others, you get people wake up just in time, they've got to have some kind of coalition that allows both sunnis and shi'a to live together and form a government. not what maliki was doing not what saddam was doing. >> right . >> rose: something that's not been done. that's the best solution, the best so-called political solution. >> sustani is, he doesn't really come out and give big speeches. he speaks very quuftly but he's enormously in fluential. he's kind of like the pope. the shiites in iraq listen. he's always been a person of great generosity. he's not somebody calling for
reprisal killings of baathists and sunnis after the american invasion. i think he understands and he's indicated that he understands that there's got to be a kind of approach to merge the two groups. the problem as the dynamic is, i mean wars have a way of rung off on their own. you mentioned the shiite militias. sustani issued a call for all able-bodied men to fight the insurgents. >> rose: his group was already armed although he's still in as you pointed out in iran. >> well, but you know these militia, whether it's solder's militia or hezbollah is another one. they're big and they're basically controlled by the iranians so it gives the iranians a kind of huge lever here. but boy once this takes off, every household in iraq has an ak47 in it, an assault rifle. everybody does. when you tell every abled body
iraq male to get out there and start fighting, that's rock and roll. >> rose: time for battle. >> yes, it could really get out of control. >> rose: what's the significance of the fact that they now control the bordersi]?f syria? >> well, i mean that cuts off baghdad certainly from those two countries. but also i think it's a measure of how quickly and effectively this sunni vanguard force is moved but i do think honestly it's also a measure that it's not just isis. isis is a bunch of sociopats ad psycho paths. >> rose: didn't we learn a lesson. >> they did learn a lesson but i think --
>> rose: they hate the shiites more than they hate -- >> they hate maliki more. the same question was true when during the american occupation which is who do you hate more. and so the way that we were -- >> rose: a sunni or the shiites. >> the way that the united states was able to kind of regain control of the country was this kind of recognition of the shiite, among the sunnis that they were going to get wind out by the shiites or by al-qaeda and so they came to us. but do you know we're not there anymore so it's a lot different dynamic. we're going back in but not with that. >> rose: so what happens if there is no, john kerry's unsuccessful. that western nations are unsuccessful. it looks like isis is continuing to advance and continuing to gain control of more territory and getting therefore more money to pay more soldiers and all
that. >> yes. >> rose: so at what point does the president say oh my god. >> i think it's doing that right now. >> rose: when he says oh my god, what do i do, what's the advice? speak out of political settlement. >> no. the real fear here is that this enormous swath of certainly in western iraq and eastern syria just becomes this kind of place for lunatics and guns to gather. not unlike afghanistan before 9/11. and he's not, he can't allow that. it's a threat to the united states. i mean there's hundreds of western, there's hundreds of sunni insurgents with western passports. i think what's happening right now is they ordered all sorts of
surveillance aircrafts and drones and everything else to start looking at that whole area and they're looking for targets. that's what they're doing. so i think secretary kerry indicated that some of the air strikes may not wait for the formation of the new government. we may just have to do it first. my guess is we're going to see that pretty soon. >> even if there has not been a coalition of any kind formed. >> every time the iraqis have had to do this, it's taken months. so maybe they will move faster because they're under pressure. but it's a fractured country. it was a fractured country when we went into it. saddam held together by terror and we tried to hold together with this kind of you know sort of feeble democracy plus occupation, you know. and we left and it kind of fell apart. now we're going to go back in there and we'll coax everybody along but there's only so much we can do. >> rose: what's the criticism
that people like dick cheney and john goldton are making. >> well, they say the following. they say look, we had the war won. when the american troops left, at the end of 2011, the war was over. and obama, you know, obama took his eye off the ball, he took all the american troops out, every single one and then it went to hell. that's what they, that's the argument, i think, that we should have left some people behind and you know been responsible about it. >> rose: we could have made a better effort at negotiating that kind of deal. >> yes. i mean that's the argument they make. i think for them to make it for those particular group of guys to make it. >> rose: cheney. >> it's a bit much. yes,behind us getting into thatr and of course as we all remember we got in on basically on
justification that turned out to be false. but i think that the argument is we should have left some people behind. that the americans have been the trusted kind of honest broker in iraq that we're the people that can bring all the factions together. ryan crosswalker american ambassador to iraq, an extraordinary diplomat. he said the trouble is we built ourselves into the hard drive, that's what we did. and so when we removed ourselves from the country, the system didn't work anyone. and that's just the fact of life. so you know, in 2003, we destroyed the iraqi state that we spent eight and-a-half years trying to build another one. it turns out it didn't work vey well so what's our obligation at this point. that's what the president's weighing. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thanks very much. >> rose: dexter filkins from the new yorker magazine. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: we continue this
evening with the news from egypt, three al jazeera journalists have been convicted and sentenced on charges of conspiring with the muslim brotherhood. there's wide spread condemnation. it came after secretary of state kerry expressed confidence in egypt relations after a nine minute meeting with the president el-sisi. it's obviously a chilling and draconian sentence. when i heard the verdict i was concerned bit, frankly disappointed in it that i immediately picked up the telephone and talked to egypt and expressed our serious displeasure. i spoke with the egyptian foreign minister about the't7é e against al jazeera. i have to raise the question of al jazeera three. the people in the world of journalist are concerned about that. >> i appreciate that. >> rose: i want to put it front and center.
>> i accept that. >> rose: on the colleagues. >> on that issue. you haven't done this even in your system. our president sent letters to the families of two of the accused. >> rose: i'm aware of that. >> he wanted to assure them one there would be due process. he said he couldn't intercede in the process. but let me add a piece of information which is why i love coming on this show. there hasn't been a single case since that. this is valid and it went through the courts and i have no comment on such and such. there hasn't been a single case since then. >> rose: why is that? >> because there's clearly a determination by the government to try to do, ensure that unless there's a real direct evidence for criminal offense, try to
give journalists as much space as you can, as a government we issued a statement from the cabinet saying that we guarantee security and protection for foreign journalists and we allow them to do their work professionally. please go and get your journalists passes so when you're pursuing your profession and you're in the middle of a demonstration here or there and policemen addresses you, you have the pass. let's try to do better but i tell you again, if a journalist commits a crime he does not have immunity. >> rose: i don't think journalists asks for immunity if they create a crime. they sit in new york city and risk their life and face these kinds of -- >> i completely appreciate that and that's why i'm saying that we have bent over backwards to
ensure, one, that these things don't happen as far as we can assure that they don't. and that you can work securely and safely because you have to be in difficult situations. >> rose: joining me in new york is ehab al-shihabi he's the ceo of al jazeera america and from qatar is correspondent sue turton. she was convicted and sentenced to ten years in absencia earlier today. i'm pleased to have both of them on this program. tell me exactly the events leading to this arrest and what's transpired since then and before we go to sue. >> i mean, sue knows better than i do about what inspired this as a matter of fact our team and egypt they were doing the war and covering it, the way they cover any war and any country in the world, they are covering in
egypt and after that i don't know the situation there but what i heard at that time is they are being in jail and they've been in jail for many months. and now the sad day shocking day that our journalists who i know personally they've been sentenced for seven years to ten years. this is a crime not just against al jazeera this is a crime against all the media, this is a crime against the freedom of press. this is really dangerous situation in my mind to the freedom of the press. as a matter of fact although we are very sad but on the other hand this will make us stronger. we are determined to make sure that our humans will be free and the whole war is standing behind us. >> rose: give us the back ground because you were sentenced in absencia. why are they bringing these kinds of charges, what do they hope to gain. explain to america and
international audience what's happening. >> well maybe we should start when i went back to cairo to cover the african union conference there where we were discussing the chances that america might actually get involved in syria at that time. as i was live from that conference our bureau was raided by the security services. our equipment was taken and it was basically closed down and from that moment on we kind of went dark if you like, i became the special correspondent they were not naming for security reasons and that lasted for weeks. our operation really just kind of doing interviews where we didn't put our faces on camera or our names. and eventually i said to the boss do you know what, we have to go back to properly reporting egypt so let's try and see if we're okay. surrounded by what was becoming a real crack down of all the media. now the domestic media in egypt has been mostly silent from speaking out in any way other than just backing the
government. these national media are still trying to do it's work. we went bag on air and started to try and report and it seemed like we were going to be okay. i then left in early november and actually was anchoring from doha when it was appeared on the live link to report the muslim brotherhood was named a terrorist organization. morsi was the president to govern the country of egypt after the revolution. this all changed with the crew last year and there we are sitting there on christmas day myself talking to peter greste over the areas and the ram fa indications. four days later he would be arrested himself with our other two colleagues and thrown in prison which is where they've been for the last 177 days. that's the kind of background. with a we were trying to do was still cover egypt. we're still showing all sides because that's what we do in al jazeera english we try to show
all sides. we have no allegiances for any group. but the narrative in egypt has been dictated to by the government and they don't want to hear anybody giving any other side of that naxa %ye. now we have this court case that's gone on where they have tried to put evidence against us. to be frank and the international press have said they have not put any evidence that goes any way to prove we aided or abetted this terrorists organization. they now deem them the brotherhood and in no way do we step out with false reason or false news out to do with egypt. but inspite of that the judiciary in egypt decided we are guilty. inspite of the fact the world has watched and seen no evidence, they still decided that we're guilty and we're in this position now, dreadful position that my colleagues are facing between seven and ten years in prison and the rest of us have this sentence hanging
over us. >> rose: so, did you have good representation during the hearing? >> we had a legal team. they did their best. there was literal really to defend. as i say there was no evidence. the sort of things they put up were some of the videos they found in the hard drive in the rooms that our guys were there. you probably got a hard drive yourself it's got all sorts of stuff on it. peter greste's hard drive had footage from arabia of horses galloping around pictures on holiday with him. all of this got shown in court. all of this just seemed ridiculous. it's supposed to prove this guilt, this supposed this terrorist guilt that we have. and there was nothing on those hard drives that proved any on this. most of the footage wasn't even at jazeera foot age. they have nothing to react to
gain. they did a good job stood up in court and said this is a trial of journalism, this is not just al jazeera this is the freedom of the press in egypt. don't forget egypt brought in a new constitution only a few months ago where it very much put freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly in the center of that constitution. they're the ones they're saying they're on a roadmap to bureaucracy. this is pillar of dact -- dact see which is in ruins. >> rose: is this the pressure of -- >> they were very supportive and promising they were doing a lot. they don't have a dog in the fight but they could see this is a freedom all journalists speaking out today really
calling for the egyptian government to realize this is no way for society to act. there's a lot going on behind the scenes. i don't know if you saw john kerry's statement just few hours ago. >> rose: i visit in front of me. >> lacking in language. he really does sound quite angry and it seems to me reading between the lines that he maybe got a promise when he was in cairo talking to the egyptian government with the money released, with the military aid being given back to he a -- egt things would be in a positive direction for our guys in courts today and it really sounds like that's been turned on its head. you may see at the end of it he uses the word posit in that speech. maybe that's what the americans are now hoping to look to the president, look to the new elected president and say okay you put our guys in this position, maybe now you come along and you pardon them and you let them go. >> rose: do you think they
singled out al jazeera because they were more upset by al jazeera's coverage of the muslim brotherhood than anybody else. >> i think other than except for the most watched arabic channel in the arabic world. i think al jazeera english, we were still trying to give our sides of the story. i don't think we push one group ahead of another group. i've been a reporter for 25 years. i've been in the british media, i have no allegiance to any group. i have no reason to stand by one group other than another group. i would say the same for pete r mohamed or behard. we were still trying to push all sides of the story. there's a huge crack down going on in all the media in egypt, the don't stick press. you don't speak out against it or they're in trouble. the international press having seen what's happened to us, i would say are really sort of
self censoring now because they know they really do run the risk if they start to push back the boundaries and interview people that maybe the government doesn't wanted them to talk or even explore the points of view. they run the risk of being rounded up and put in a prison cell next to our guys. >> rose: it's having a chilling effect in your judgment. >> it's having a huge effect. in reality you talk to some international houses are considering closing their own down in cairo now. they're aghast what happened today. they thought the egyptian government wasn't doing their image, their reputation any good. and it certainly wasn't proving they're on this you know roadmap to democracy. and to be frank, their tourism industry is flat lining and the egyptian tourism minister has done the rounds of country saying we need people to come back on holiday to egypt. to be honest with you if someone said to me should we go to
holiday to egypt. i would say no if you have a conscious you shouldn't because you should recognize not only how they're treating journalists but muslim brotherhood supporters but their own citizens. the real attitude they have. they don't deserve to know what's going on in their own country because they're just silencing any free press. >> rose: do you think this has anything to do with the fact that al jazeera is from qatar. >> i think we can't, yes, we can't shy away from that. we know it's on the record. qatar is very much supportive of the muslim brotherhood and very much supportive of mohamed morsi. governments when he was brother in as president. but the government isn't al jazeera english it really isn't. let's get rid of this whole idea that anybody in authority in qatar tells me what to say. when i turn occupy on a or
especially i say it like i see it and like i hear it. i don't see it for anybody else. i'm a journalist i hope with integrity i try to be a fair and balanced jips my -- journalist my whole year and nobody will make me a mouthpiece. we're journalists from a well respected news channel and we're trying to tell it like it is. >> rose: my point was not that. clearly anybody who knows of you and who listens to you this evening knows of all the things you spoke of is an accurate reflection who you are and how you report. i mean the question was whether the egyptian government is upset with the qatar government and therefore took it out on three journalists who work for al jazeera. >> you know i'm sure that's in the mix. that really must be in the mix. as i say, there's a huge crack down on the media. anybody that gives an alternative point of view, al jazeera is still doing this.
yes we are funded by the qatari government and yes there is no love lost between the two nations at the moment. so i'm sure we are a victim of that as well. but it's much more complicated than to say just that. but i would concede yes that has got to be part of it. >> rose: john kerry's statement is in front of me. he said today's conviction is obviously a chilling and draconian sentence. when i heard the sentence i was so concern and frankly disappointed in it and immediately picked up the tell phenoand talked to the more than fin stir of egypt and expressed our serious displeasure at this kind of verdict. but at the same time the secretary says it's not reflective of general or president el-sisi has said about this or any conversation he might have had with the president about this. it's one thing to talk to the foreign ministers and another thing to talk to the president. >> indeed. i think the channels of communication between the state dent and the egyptian
presidential palace and with the government have been open. there have been frank discussions for months now between the two. that's certainly the message i was getting when i was in d.c. now, i don't know. i mean does anybody believe that the egyptian judicial system is independent of the government, is independent of the president? we look back now and see what's happened today and it really doesn't seem to be the case. and people keep saying to me are you going to appeal and i'm thinking well if we appeal we're still looking for trust in the same judicial system that was delivered today. do we believe that things will change in the future or do we believe that there is a hands of the president and the hands of the government on that judicial system. why bother appealing if that's what we think. but we have very few options left open to us. the other discussion is being should we call for a pardon. that would be a president. is the president minded to pardon us. >> rose: david kirkpatrick writing in the "new york times" says journalists for al jazeera english language newspaper,
english language network note that heights -- keurnlg is more neutral than the brotherhood but the journalists sentenced on monday appeared to be caught up on the campaign against al jazeera as whole. does that resonate with you? >> again, i can only speak for al jazeera english, i don't work for al jazeera arabic. i do not only personnel for al jazeera still in december for our guys, the al jazeera offices closed, they had to pull out. there had been threats against them. you know, we were the only ones still in town, if you'd like. so if they were looking to round anybody up then maybe that's why they looked for us. you know. maybe we are bearing the brunt of this but david kirkpatrick is right, we do try to steer a very straight line down the middle. that is the way we report. and in courts, they had to recognize we're al jazeera english. now some of the expert witnesses
were brought in didn't know the difference. they didn't know there were different channels in al jazeera and they were the experts the guys who were saying who did what and who said what. it was a travel see of justice to think these people put forth any evidence in any way proved the charges against them. >> rose: where do we go from here? >> i think the whole idea here is we have our journalists that's in jail. and we now our mission is to rally the whole world to free our journalists. >> rose: you look at the statement of the secretary of state of the united states and the more than minister of australia. you seem to have very strong statements coming from them. >> it's very strong statement but not enough. i strongly believe we need to rally the whole media. because first of all it's fundamental to understand this is a crime against the media. this is not a crime only against al jazeera. this is a crime against the
media. if journalists might be in jail they might suffer the same consequences. what we need to do is put more pressure on egypt. we need the organizations, we need all the government to keep continuous pressure on el-sisi and egypt. >> rose: what pressure do they have -- >> it's impossible for us to step foot in the country because we have these charges leveled against us and if any of us tried to go in there now not me obviously because i would be put in prison for ten years. for any of my colleagues there's no way they could operate freely at the moment. all we can do is stand back, look from afar. we have no way of really reporting properly from cairo, from egypt to be honest until we think these charges go away and
our guys are free. >> rose: after a 90-minute meeting with president el-sisi, john kerry said he gave me very strong sense of his commitment to a reevaluation of human rights legislation and a reevaluation of the judicial process. any comment on that? >> no. you know, the american government has been very supportive and they've tried, i know they tried to keep negotiations open with the egyptian government. even when the egyptian government has been handing out hundreds of death sentences from the muslim brotherhood supporters which really has to stick in the gullate for anybody that believes in freedom of expression when you back the muslim brotherhood or not to give a death sentence to somebody who believes in a group doesn't sit right with anybody. so i recognize and i respect the fact that john kerry is still trying to negotiate with the egyptian government for all our
benefits. at the end of the day, though, whatever has been said by the egyptian government, whatever promises they are making, they're not following through with them. >> rose: thank you for joining us. i know we got you up late late in dohar and i thank you very much for coming and give us us some insight in this troubling case. thank you so much. >> my pleasure. thank you for talking to me. >> rose: thank you very much. keep us informed. >> thank you. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: fouad ajami died he was 68 years old. it was said nobody ever combined the vichedz of idealism with the virtues of realism the way fouad d he said the freedom and democracy in the arab world and had no illusions of the magnitude of the obstacles that stood in the way of his progressive dream. his first book in 1981 the arab
predicament spoke about the prevailing myth of arab politics. he exposed marxism nationalism and islamism and called for various islam societies to take responsibility for their own integrity and social progress. fouad ajami authored over 400 essays on foreign policy and international history. he was a prominent influence on the american understanding of israeli palestinian conflict, the bosnian war and genocide. the high rinking american officials and the war on iraq and the so-called arab spring. he believed the arab world should make peace with israel and counts on the united states as their friend. he was born in a length knees villaraigosa and became a proud american and was for a strong gloarm american presence. he was a long time friend of this program and me where he appeared more than 40 times. we remember him tonight with selections of conversations we had at this table over the years. >> rose: had you been right about iraq and if not totally
how not. >> that's a did you have one. it would be at this desk you would ask this question in this way. have i been right about iraq? i don't think anyone's been right about iraq. i think iraq is full of surprises and surprises everyone and surprised people who prosecuted the war people who launched the war. surprised the liberals inside the war and surprised the hawks who thought iraq would redeem the best. i don't really looking back on what i wrote about iraq and looking back on the logic of the war and the logic that i prescribed, you would remember charlie i wasment one of the people who was beating the drums of war, the war came and i would say i was a 9/11 person. i was working on 9/11 i was working on the attack on america on 9/11 and the iraq war was launched. and i caught up with the war and i followed the war. i went to iraq because i didn't want to write about the war and think about the war from a distance. i plunged myself into the fore,
and i thought i had some advantages, the advantage of language to hear this irony. we are deeply invested in the arab war and deeply invested in iraq. but many of our people and the few who write about the war and of the people who write for or against the war know very little about that culture. i felt i had that advantage at least. so i've just tried my best to understand this war. i'm sympathetic to the war. i think it's a noble effort. our friend bernard once said he thought that the war was more than right and completely wrong. then he asked me he said what would you say if you were to have a big sound bite about the bar and i said it's a noble war. the question is it a noble success or a noble failures. an open effort can also say it. so i think we've tried to make sense of this war. and i have tried my best just simply chronicle the war and quran come the iraqis. write about them. this book is fall of iraqis
something of an attempt at the grammar or this cleric or this man. charlie on this one i'm a total hawk. we owe the arab war no apology for anything. we owe the arab war no apology. one the terror attacks on 9/11 which emanated right on the heart of society, we told the story over and over again a few years ago. these terror attacks were not the fringe attack. they came right from the mainstream of arab society. and then going into iraq when we up ended the regime of saddam hussein we overthrew a terrible tyranny that the war in many ways had averted through all the terrible crime of saddam hussein. the league of arab state never uttered a word of sympathy. whatever mistakes we had in iraq they failed in significance when you compare them of the great
crimes of the saddam regem and arab silence. the fact they were indifferent to the victims of saddam hussein. they should not hear from them. >> rose: saddam is gone. >> yes. >> rose: now you have this extraordinary sectarian violence. >> we can't criticize what's going on in iraq and we should understand that men are, i mean there's a line in this book i think on the shiite resorting to violence. men are not angels u they are not angels. the sunni arabs in iraq and aided and abetted by thew%@$áoñy the forces of the sunni arabs and the arab world around iraq. they really had no apologies to offer. indeed they did the reverse and they began the war against the shi'a. the irony is they were sectarian vengeance and killing. where we are now, you're right, you are right in you take a look at the shi'a. suddenly now these a balance of terror in roork because the shi'a who are the victims now have their own militia. the brigade and the army have
come into the fight and these are terrible forces. the forces of darkness, forces of bigotry. there are kids without jobs, and they dabble in sector tainer violence. but as a remarkable man, the president of the country said some of the sunni arab leaders in iraq, their responsibility for the violence against the shi'a. they never reigned in their community, they never understood having been the main stain of the saddam regem. you don't turn around and unleash violence against the shi'a. i think the images that framed the iraq war, one for me was april 9, 2003 the fall of the statute. and i hate to again refer to something related to you. we did a approach from washington that same very day about the falling of the statute of saddam hussein. that was one moment for the arabs another one was in
december, some months later, december 13, i believe. when saddam was flushed out of the spider hole and the arabs could see the bandity if you will and the cowardness of evil. it was not a very eyes war and i think my two colleagues have mapped out the problems. i think there's something michael said which i sympathize with. it's a quotation i like from ambassador crocker one of our wisest dim mast who said in the end how we leave and what we leave behind is much more important than how we came. we've been arguing about how we came. it's really what we leave behind that is the true test of this war. >> rose: i think that's john was talking about. >> yes. >> rose: not what we came for. >> well i mean i think the war has been a terrible disappointment in many ways.
and you could, i suppose, we have given liberty to a majority of the iraqi population. there's no doubt about that. >> rose: so noble in your judgment failure or noble success. >> it's a noble war. i don't think it's catastrophic failure, i don't think it's a really a success. i mean i happen to know for example prime minister maliki watching the lamentable leadership of this man, watching the appetite has grown and has become a real dictator. it's not exactly what those of us who thought well of the war who have expected from this war but wars had these kinds of end. they have these outcome that people can't forget, they can't tell what will happen. >> rose: this is from the song of rain written in 9 1960. we spent year after year after near watching thumbed wrist lightening clouds with no rain and wind like storms which neither pass as a storm nor lie
quiet. we sleep and wake up in fear of them. >> that's a noblest. i'm glad you read this. that's the noblest poem. if you ask the iraqis are very poetic people. two things the iraqis are really good at in the arab world. they are the pioneer poets and scripture which is a tradition. >> rose: sculpture. >> yes. if you ask iraqis and you say what's the best tone, son of iraq or a daughter of iraq, they tell you better say 1960 the very gifted man. and i open the book with it and i close the book with it. it's about the song of rain where he says every year rain we expect rain and then every year the people of iraq still hunger. and the iraqis have been living on this expectation of deliverance. and there's a letter for it in this book and it's really i think is a unique part of this book not a policy angle.
one of the great post says this is a met for iraq. he grew up and measured the ground and -- so there was always in iraq the promise, the promise of a better future, a country that is rich with oil, rich with water, rich with agriculture and yet it's wrecked. >> rose: it remains whether an american-led invasion and occupation will lead to deliverance. >> you ask a very fundamental question. when you fly today charlie because you can't fly to baghdad directly when you fly from jordan which is the iraqi piece of ground which had nothing except governance and stability and you fly from jordan to baghdad. here's this country iraq which is rich and should be the one that is highly developed or you fly from kuwait to iraq. kuwait used to come and work in iraq, day laborers and you look
at the condition of iraq and compare it to the conditions of its neighbors. you can see when deck tatership gets to iraq. so we picked a he have very difficult laboratory for a very very big experiment i think with a lot of mobility built into the enterprise and that's what this tries to capture and that's why i'm really delighted that you, i hadn't really thought that he would give if you will a statement, the rain awaiting for rain you're waiting for deliverance. and the gift comes from america, it's the foreigner gift and people don't like the gift handed by foreigner. that's into this title. let's face it we have no script. we're playing by ear. the element of contingency, accidents, the young man in the full moon sets himself on fire
and the regional order is in danger. >> rose: history changes. >> history changes, exactly. look, when you said something about the mubarak strategy i smiled and reminded of an egyptian joke and egyptions were funny before mubarak. after mubarak the humor left the land. and it is about when mubarak became president, he took a ride with his drivermdriver, he saida cross road and the driver said mr. president, what did i do. he said tell me which way to turn. always to the left. and sadat. he said always to the right. he said okay, don't move. don't you move. this is the mubarak strategy. don't move. anyone who comes to you will demand. and look at mubarak, he's been there through five american presidents, right. from the days of ronald reagan. and we've always talked about pushing him to reform. mubarak is a survivor and a wiley man and he will hope he
will somehow ride out the storm. my guess is a variation of what was said, the army now calls the shots. the system of hosni mubarak and plan has fallen and if he stays he stays at the good grace of the army. >> rose: fouad ajami who died at the age of 68. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
this is nightly business report with tyler mathisen and suzie guerin. >> within reach, the dow may have snapped its winning streak, but 17,000 points away. which stocks got us here, and which may lead the next leg. home sweet home, it was the biggest jump for existing home sales in three years. is the housing market finally on firmer footing? and rainy day funds more than a quarter americans have no emergency savings. there's a relatively simple way to get more money in your piggybank. we have all that and more tonight on the nightly business report for monday june 23rd. >> tyler mathisen is off again this evening. it looks like down 17,000 is going toe